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Posted at 08:49 AM on Wednesday, August 6, 2008 by dist3
In This Issue:
1. VA Funding Passes House
2. New Housing Bill has Vet Provisions
3. House Passes Vet Bills
4. Congress on August Recess
1. VA funding Passes House: By a 409-4 vote, the House passed the 2009 VA and Military Construction funding bill. The bill builds on last year's historic funding increase, providing $8.8 billion more than last year's funding level. For VA, it's a $4.6 billion increase in funding to a total of $47.7 billion. It includes funding to treat the 40,000 new Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that VA expects to treat this year.
It also includes funding for:
* Priority 8 veterans - would allow a small number of new Priority 8 veterans back into the health care system
* Mental health care - nearly $1 billion more than last year's funding level for PTSD, suicide prevention and other mental illnesses
* Mileage Reimbursement - would increase the rate by $.13 per mile and freeze the deductible
* Rural care - increases funding for rural care options, especially targeted at returning Guard and Reserve members who live far away from VA facilities
* Research and prosthetics - over $170 million more than last year's amount
* Claims processors - allows the hiring of 2,100 additional processors to help reduce the disability claims backlog
* Construction - begins funding six additional VA facilities and allows smaller projects to be conducted at 145 additional locations
The Military Construction portion of the bill includes $336 million in new funding for quality of life programs for troops and their families, much of which is targeted towards barracks and medical facilities. It also sends $3.2 billion specifically towards military housing.
The bill awaits Senate action. With the Senate on recess until September, we will not see any movement for a while. Once the Senate passes its version of the funding bill, the differences would need to be resolved before being sent to the President.
For a detailed summary of the bill: http://appropriations.house.
For information about the bill:
To see how your Representative voted: